The Classic - Cycle Oregon

Portland Community College Cascade Campus Bike Program closes abruptly — UPDATED

Posted by on May 28th, 2015 at 3:13 pm

An abrupt closure of the Student Center at Portland Community College’s Cascade Campus has left staff and volunteers with the school’s Bike Program scrambling and frustrated.

Tom Martin, the bike program coordinator at the north Portland campus contacted us today and said he and other staff were informed late afternoon on Friday about the closure and were given no prior notice or help finding another space on campus. Martin called the move, “A giant step backwards for students at Cascade Campus who need affordable transportation options.”

“The ASPCC [Associated Students of Portland Community College] funded bike program is being stonewalled and mothballed to the detriment to students, the community, and the environment,” Martin wrote in an email today that was sent to co-workers and volunteers.

Martin told me in a phone interview today that his program has never found a permanent on campus. “First we were kicked out of a condemned building by the City of Portland, so we found space in the Underground [in the student center, which is now being demolished], now we’ve been forced out again…. Students are getting screwed.”

25 of those students still have loaner bikes they received through the bike program and now have no way to return them.

“A giant step backwards for students at Cascade Campus who need affordable transportation options.”
— Tom Martin, Bike Program Coordinator

Martin added that students had to take time out of class to rescue the bikes, tools and equipment before the center was closed. It’s still unclear how, where, or when they’ll be able to re-open.

The move to close the student center is part of PCC’s ongoing, bond-funded capital construction project. Rebecca Ocken manages the construction projects. On Friday (5/22) at 4:00 pm (a holiday weekend, Martin notes) she sent a message about the closure to the Cascade campus email list. Here’s an excerpt:

Phase II of the Cascade Bond work is starting with the Student Center. The old Underground, first floor dining space and second floor classrooms will all be closed starting Tuesday, May 26th. Contractors will be working in the space to get it ready for demolition later this summer.

This last phase of work will certainly transform the campus as the old Student Center is removed and a new plaza built in its place. The new Library will have a entryway, new common space, and a second classroom. It will be an exciting year ahead.

We’ve contacted Rebecca Ocken and PCC Community Relations Manager Abe Proctor for comment but have not heard back.

The Bike Program at PCC Cascade started in 2012 and has been successful in serving students and earning grant funding for new services. In 2013, the program won a Metro grant of $66,000 to create expand a bike rental program that was first piloted at the Cascade Campus. The bike program won another grant in 2015 to install secure bicycle lockers and educate students about bicycling to campus in 2015.

Martin said 95 students had rented bikes and his program provided free and/or low-cost bike repairs to 300 students so far this year. With this unexpected closure and no home for his program, Martin says the recommendations made in the Cascade Bike Plan that was adopted in 2014 cannot be fulfilled.

Stay tuned as we try and track down more information.

UPDATE, 6/1 at 1:20 pm: PCC Community Relations Officer Abe Proctor says the bike program has not been closed, only that it has been relocated.

During a phone conversation with me, Proctor said the bike program will be up and running at a new location as of June 22nd but that is has been closed temporarily for a major construction project (the building it was housed in is going to be demolished).

When it opens on June 22nd PCC staff and students will be able to access the bike services near the Margaret Carter Technology Education Building. “This is a popular program and the college and campus remain in support of it,” Proctor said. “We’re looking forward to locating a permanent home for it.”

Asked why the manager of the bike program, Tom Martin, was very concerned about its status, Proctor said, “I suspect that Tom was frustrated because it’s taken us a long time to identify a permanent home for the program.”

Portland Century August 19th

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21 Comments
  • jeg May 28, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    “…bike program is being stonewalled…”

    What does this community college have against bikes?

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  • BIKELEPTIC May 28, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    Is there a way that we can get a hub building (or modular) to take up some precious parking lot space – like the North Portland bike hub? Can we find someone to donate a tiny house-type modular and/or storage unit for admin and storage?

    If we could help Tom get this approved and someone would donate this equipment (or we could get a grant to build it, which I can assist in working on), I will quit my very decent job to help run for a very modest stipend. That’s how much I care about the success of this.

    And I’ve met Tom a couple times. He’s a pretty cool cat that really cares about the community. I could dig working with him.

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  • browse May 28, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    Tom is an awesome guy and was doing amazing things at PCC! I’m really saddened and disappointed by this news. WTF, PCC?!

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  • Cervelo May 28, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    Wonder how people in years past managed to grow up without bikes subsidized by the goobermint?

    Maybe they bought bikes on craigslist? Nope, didn’t exist. Must have got ’em at the garage sale for dirt cheap.

    Maybe when it was time to repair them they got a book and did it themselves. Imagine that.

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    • Bjorn May 28, 2015 at 5:33 pm

      I would think that you had a point if it weren’t for the fact that they heavily subsidize driving to campus, charging only 12.50 a month for parking.

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      • jeg May 28, 2015 at 5:40 pm

        I think their message was something about bootstraps.

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    • columbia manufacturing May 28, 2015 at 8:27 pm

      the program is desgned to teach pcc students to work on their own bikes. Access to tools and parts and expertise is pretty bootstrapping.

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  • Noah Brimhall May 28, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    I’m really upset that PCC is not supporting the ASPCC Bike program and helping to find them a space. They promote this program on their own website (https://www.pcc.edu/resources/parking/bikes.html) and it is part of their 2012 Cascade Campus Transportation Demand Plan (page 32 in this PDF https://www.pcc.edu/resources/parking/documents/TDM-final-plan-2012-04-30.pdf). In fact, if I remember right, the TDM and the initiatives in it that are meant to encourage less automobile use were a major selling point for the underground garage that PCC recently completed. Shame on PCC for not supporting this program that helps students who choose to bike to school.

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  • Jim Labbe May 28, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    This is disturbing. The bike program should be part of a robust program to give people alternatives to driving. Such demand management programs are the best alternative to building more parking on campus.

    I know a former PPC staffer worked on their sustainability programs and initiatives. Apparently the biggest portion of PPC’s carbon footprint comes from people driving to their campuses.

    Hopefully something bigger and better is in the works.

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    • paikiala May 29, 2015 at 9:26 am

      Seems like the support would also be part of a good-neighbor agreement with the local community, considering the impact parking on the neighborhood is perceived to have.

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  • Tom Hardy May 28, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    Sounds like another administrator/politician needs to be tagged for replacement. Let’s see now we have at least 1 judge and possibly one prosecuter and a PCC Board.. Not naming names.

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  • Lester Burnham May 29, 2015 at 6:34 am

    I think a protest ride blocking PCC is in order.

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  • Spenzor May 29, 2015 at 8:55 am

    I guess I could see this as bike discrimination, but aren’t organizations like this a big selling point for schools?

    As someone who has spent some time around Oregon’s universities and community colleges (UO, LCC, PSU, OHSU), this has the stench of bureaucracy and administrative incompetence. Or maybe just good ol’ fashioned not-my-job-ism. My guess is that someone just didn’t realize it was their job to notify folks of this closure or they didn’t know that this particular organization would be affected. Now the question is, will the person(s) responsible step up and accept blame?

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  • Chandler May 29, 2015 at 9:18 am

    Must have the same capital planners as WSU. They took out the post office because no one used it. Well there was a waiting line to get a box so not one “of them” used it.
    Logic does not win with people not involved.

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  • CaptainKarma May 29, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    Making announcements on Friday afternoons at 4PM is what Congress does when they are knowingly foisting a stinky pile of doodoo on unsuspecting citizens. The thinking is that no one is paying attention and it will just blow over due to the weekend. This was even done by PCC on a holiday weekend! Extra points for the project manager.

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  • Trebor May 29, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    I am a history instructor at PCC. According to an email from Cascade Campus Community Relations Officer Abe Proctor, the center is not closing. Abe wrote that “the Cascade Bike Program remains open, and will be able to resume full operations in little more than three weeks” after relocating to temporary quarters.

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  • Jami Burns May 29, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    This is incorrect. This program has not closed. I’m an employee at PCC and was just notified of this today.

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  • Mudakipper May 29, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    How will the program operate in a condemned building? Those guys have way more bikes than can fit in that 10×12 storage shed

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 1, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    Heard back from PCC. Here’s the update:
    UPDATE, 6/1 at 1:20 pm: PCC Community Relations Officer Abe Proctor says the bike program has not been closed, only that it has been relocated.

    During a phone conversation with me, Proctor said the bike program will be up and running at a new location as of June 22nd but that is has been closed temporarily for a major construction project (the building it was housed in is going to be demolished).

    When it opens on June 22nd PCC staff and students will be able to access the bike services near the Margaret Carter Technology Education Building. “This is a popular program and the college and campus remain in support of it,” Proctor said. “We’re looking forward to locating a permanent home for it.”

    Asked why the manager of the bike program, Tom Martin, was very concerned about its status, Proctor said, “I suspect that Tom was frustrated because it’s taken us a long time to identify a permanent home for the program.”

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  • Kevin Black June 3, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    The issue at hand is still this: PCC administration abruptly closed the program for three weeks with no notice on a Friday at 4pm before a holiday weekend. Where was the planning? Why is the bike program getting thrown under the bus? Where is an apology – at a minimum?

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